That day in September would appear shadowed by a solar eclipse…a massive one…probably the longest on record, maybe lasting an entire year or more. You likely don’t remember that event though. That’s because it probably only took place in my world. It specifically coincided with my mother’s death. You see, she was my sunshine; and my world revolved around her.
That same year, I was enlisted as a soldier. It’s true. I remember my basic training well. There I stood at attention, in the funeral home, over my mother’s coffin. My sergeant hovered over me, offering specific directives for our upcoming battle and my survival tactics. I felt so unprepared for my mission – palms sweaty, knees knocking. Despite any lack of experience or stature on my part, Sgt. Joe took his job to prepare me very seriously.
Directives for my mission?
Smile when people speak to you. Let them tell you their memories of your mother. They don’t want to see you cry.
Stand tall and be brave. You’re my little soldier now.
One clasp of a heavy hand on my shoulder with a quick squeeze of reassurance, and I was unwillingly recruited into my new role. One big swallow to push back the tears that were burning in my eyes and throat, and I picked up my assigned weapon and wielded it. Most soldiers give their weapon a nickname. I’d give one to mine later in life – I’d call it denial.
I smiled. I listened. I nodded. I went numb. People told me things about my mother – like she was the prettiest corpse they’d ever seen; she was going to be an angel watching over me. ‘That’s just ridiculous,’ I thought bitterly (to myself, of course, since I was obediently smiling and nodding at them on the outside). Still, even today – as I come upon her age of death – I wonder if people will think I appear that pretty when I’m in my coffin. Oh, the vanity of life!
Another week, another Trifecta challenge (only different, as always). During the week, we’re allotted up to 333 words, so I was greedy – I used every last one of them. I found a couple of different places to use the prompt (at the alpha and omega points – the beginning and the end), and I decided to do a little creative non-fiction writing this week – with this added thought:
Most especially in the dark hours,
when our lives appear so greatly eclipsed –
that’s when we can become most aware
of the slivers of abiding light
reaching out to touch us.
The challenge word also appears above, in my final quote – still in the Trifecta-mandated 3rd definition. So there are your clues to this week’s word (and usage). Did you get it?
1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>
I Salute You for Your Service (humanTriumphant.wordpress.com)